Injury bug biting Ravens early on this season

Look around the league through just two weeks, and you’ll see a lengthy list of star players who have already suffered season-ending injuries.

Heck, the Chiefs have already lost arguably their three top players for the year in Tony Moeaki, Eric Berry and now Jamaal Charles. Fantasy owners everywhere are cringing. Maybe even crying.

Luckily, the Ravens have not suffered any disastrous long-term injuries to any of their elite players. But they are currently battling a handful ailments which could seriously impact this team’s potential over the next few weeks.

Rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith, expected to be a key contributor very early on, has not played a single defensive snap this season because of a high ankle sprain. Depending on how quickly he recovers, Smith might not be available until after the Ravens’ Week 5 bye.

Smith’s fellow cornerback, Chris Carr, has battled a lingering hamstring injury which caused him to leave Baltimore’s Week 1 game and then miss all of yesterday’s contest. With the two ailing corners, the Ravens are left with a cornerback rotation of Cary Williams, Lardarius Webb, Domonique Foxworth, Danny Gorrer and Chykie Brown.

We saw how that group fared yesterday.

Wide receiver Lee Evans played yesterday against Tennessee, but his left ankle injury is clearly limiting his downfield playmaking ability. Evans has made just two catches for 45 yards in two games, this after recording six catches for a team-high 128 receiving yards during the preseason, numbers which he put up in less than two full contests.

Evans has been able to have success over his career because of his speed, but the ankle injury is clearly affecting that area of his game.

Starting left guard Ben Grubbs, one of the most underrated players on the Ravens’ roster, missed his first career game in five NFL seasons yesterday because of a toe injury. Maybe coincidentally, maybe not, the Ravens struggled to protect quarterback Joe Flacco yesterday, and allowed three sacks.

Now, wide receiver/kickoff returner David Reed might be out for a bit because of a shoulder injury, and the team reported that run-stuffing defensive tackle Terrence Cody - who has dropped weight and looks much improved from last season - suffered a concussion during yesterday’s game.

Reed’s injury could be especially damaging to the Ravens, as he led the NFL in kick return average last season, and again showed what he’s capable in that area yesterday before suffering the shoulder injury, taking a second quarter kickoff back 77 yards.

In addition, if Evans remains hampered by his ankle injury and Reed’s shoulder keeps him out of action for a bit, the Ravens will need to turn to rookies Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss and LaQuan Williams - none of whom have recorded a catch thus far - to pick up the offensive slack.

Every NFL team is going to have to overcome their share of injuries at some point in a season, and compared to the personnel losses that other teams have already experienced, you could even claim that the Ravens have been somewhat lucky on the health front so far. But the bumps and bruises are slowly starting to mount for John Harbaugh and company.

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